With the cost of education rising, student loans tend to be the only option for many students. However, a large amount of student loan debt can be debilitating post-graduation. Choosing the right student loan can be as important as declaring the right major. So what are the best options? Below is a quick guide on choosing the best student loan option for you.

Best Loan Options

Choosing the right student loan is imperative when it comes to your financial success long-term. Make sure you follow these rules before borrowing that money.

  • Always apply for a subsidized loan first. Subsidized loans are interest-free while you are enrolled at least half-time in school and during the six-month grace period after graduation.
  • Unfortunately if you are a graduate student subsidized loans are not available. The next best bet is applying for federal unsubsidized loans; the interest rates on these loans are lower than most.
  • If you need to take out private student loans consider what loans are best for you, including those with low interest rates. Discover Student Loans offers fixed and variable interest rate student loans and other reward programs.
  • Do not borrow more than you need. This may be tempting, but overborrowing will create a significant amount of stress post graduation.
  • If you find yourself with a surplus after your school expenses have been paid, give the leftover money back. You will thank yourself later.

Smart Repayment Options

Making smart decisions around repayment is a pivotal part to financial success. Below are some tips to help make those repayments a little easier.

  • The minute your loan is disbursed, you can start paying interest on the loan. By paying the interest on the loan while still in school you will end up paying  only the principal loan amount upon graduation. This will enable you to pay off the loan faster and pay a lot less in the long run.
  • Additionally, paying interest, or an amount you can afford, sets the foundation for repayment after school. Making monthly payments will help make that transition after school much easier.
  • Consolidation. Loan consolidation can be a smart move if you have multiple loans with varying interest rates. Typically loan consolation is a smart move if you are able to secure a lower overall interest rate.
  • If you are finding it hard to make payments contact your lender, skipping payments is the worst thing you can do when it comes to student loans. Defaulting on your student loans will ruin your credit.
  • Research your repayment options, because finding the best repayment option for you can reduce financial stress in the long run.

Helpful Tools

Below are some helpful sites for planning and paying for college.

  • SimpleTuition.com is a site that helps parents and students pick the best lending option for their specific situation and takes the guess-work out of borrowing.
  • Upromise provides smart and creative ways to help pay for college by directing your spending to Upromise partners. A percentage of these sales goes to your student loans or tuition. With more than 10,000 retailers to choose from you can spend to save.
  • FAFSA.com

     assists students and parents in maneuvering the Federal Student Aid application process.

As always borrow smart and save big in the long run.